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Wilmington deputy city manager had DUI dismissed, expunged. DA looking to refile charges

The City of Wilmington's main offices at the Skyline Center, formerly the Thermo Fisher building.
Benjamin Schachtman
The City of Wilmington's main offices at the Skyline Center, formerly the Thermo Fisher building.

Last summer, Mary Vigue, deputy city manager for the City of Wilmington, was charged with a DUI after being stopped at a license checkpoint. Months later, her arrest had been scrubbed from online and criminal court databases — but prosecutors are still looking at her case.

On the afternoon of June 1, 2023, Mary Vigue was arrested near Greenfield Lake when she was stopped at a license checkpoint.

Vigue was not far from her home address when she was stopped, but it was unclear if she was headed home — or headed out. What was clear, according to law enforcement officials who were at the scene, was that Vigue was visibly intoxicated.

It’s also uncertain if Vigue was on the clock at the time – around 4:30 p.m. The City of Wilmington declined to comment on the situation, saying it was a personnel issue. Vigue was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday, June 2, according to the city. However, according to personnel records provided by the city this month, she was moved to an unpaid suspension several days later on June 5, and returned to paid work on June 20.

Coincidentally, Vigue did get a market-based raise from the city while she was suspended, from roughly $170,000 to around $173,400.She has worked for the city since May of 2022.

While the checkpoint took place in Wilmington city limits, Vigue was arrested by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office (NHCSO), which was collaborating with the Wilmington Police Department (WPD).

However, records of her arrest on the online database maintained by the Sheriff’s Office have been removed. So have all records of her case, previously maintained as part of the criminal court database.

According to NHCSO spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer, Vigue’s charges were dismissed because the arresting deputy no longer worked for the Sheriff’s Office when he was subpoenaed for the case. The District Attorney’s office motioned to continue, but Judge Russell Davis denied it.

Then, Vigue was apparently able to get her arrest expunged and all online and database records removed. According to NHCSO, this was most likely part of updated expungement laws — passed as part of the 2020 Second Chance Act, which included automated expungement for certain dismissed charges.

Still, according to NHCSO, there were multiple WPD officers and at least one other NHCSO deputy present, who could testify and who likely had body cameras activated.

District Attorney Ben David confirmed NHCSO’s account, and said his office is “trying to re-file once we determine if there is another law-enforcement officer who can give substantially the same testimony.” David’s office has a year from the dismissal to refile charges.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.